The President's Budget Request (PBR) for NASA's fiscal year 2022 was released on May 28th, 2021. It proposes to spend $24.8 billion, an increase of 6.6% over the previous year. The increase is directed toward NASA's science programs, space technology, and human landing system development.

Congress must pass appropriations legislation in response to this budget request by September 30th, 2021—the end of the current fiscal year.

In July, the House of Representatives released its proposed funding legislation for NASA, which would provide $25 billion for the agency, largely in-line with the Biden Administration's proposal. The Senate has yet to take action.

The FY 2022 Presidential Budget Request

  2021 Enacted 2022 PBR % Change
NASA $23,271 $24,802 +6.6%
Science $7,301 $7,931 +8.6%
Planetary Science $2,700 $3,200 +18.5%
Earth Science $2,000 $2,250 +12.5%
Astrophysics $1,356 $1,400 +3.2%
Roman Space Telescope $505 $501.6 -0.7%
James Webb Space Telescope $414.7 $175.4 -58%
Heliophysics $751 $796.7 +6%
Biological & Physical Science $79.1 $109.1 +38%
Exploration $6,555 $6,880 +5%
Orion Crew Vehicle $1,407 $1,407 -
SLS $2,586 $2,487 -4%
Lunar Gateway $698 $785 +12.3%
Human Landing System $850 $1,195 +41%
Space/Exploration Technology $1,100 $1,425 +30%
Space Operations $3,988 $4,017 +0.7%
Aeronautics $829 $915 +10%
STEM Engagement $127 $147 +16%
Safety, Security, & Mission Services $2,937 $3,049 +3.8%
Construction and Environmental Compliance $390 $390 -
NASA Inspector General $44.2 $46 +4.1%

All values are in millions of dollars. Directorate/top-level line-items are in boldface, divisions and major projects are in standard formatting; sub-programs are in italics. All major directorates are listed but not all sub-divisions or projects are included here.

The President's Budget Request for NASA was released on May 28th, 2021. Highlights of the proposal include:

  • "The Earth Systems Observatory...a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes"
  • Full funding to support a Mars Sample Return mission
  • $143.2 million for the NEO Surveyor mission to enable a mid-2020s launch
  • Continues the Roman Space Telescope, the follow-on mission from JWST
  • Modest increases for Artemis human landing system (HLS) and Gateway lunar station. Supports a single award for development of the HLS program.

Proposed Cuts in FY 2021

  • "Proposes termination and orderly shutdown of SOFIA, the second-most expensive operating mission in the Astrophysics Division, to focus on higher priority science"
  • Proposes to end the Nuclear Thermal Propulsion technology development program in order to focus on surface fission power for near-term lunar exploration.

Note: all quotes are from NASA's FY 2022 president's budget request and related documents.

    President's Budget Request Source Documents

    Historical Context

    Adjusting for inflation, the $24.7 billion proposal is the 2nd largest request for NASA since 1997. If it is approved by Congress, it would represent NASA's best budget since 1995.

    The Biden Administration projects this growth to continue, and aims to grow the agency to $27 billion by FY 2026.

    NASA's annual budget since its inception, adjusted for inflation using the NASA New Start Inflation Index. The vertical axis displays NASA's total congressional appropriation in billions of dollars. The horizontal axis is fiscal years. Detailed data including outlays, alternate inflation indicies, non-inflation adjusted numbers, and White House budget requests are available to view or to download as an Excel spreadsheet.

    Congressional Action

    In July 2021, the House of Representatives released its proposed funding legislation for NASA. It would provide $25.04 billion for NASA, $238 million above the Biden Administration's request.

    Notable differences include the restoration of funding for the SOFIA space telescope and nuclear thermal propulsion. The legislation also provides $150 million more for Artemis' Human Landing System than requested. And though it laments the lack of competition in the program, it does not require a second contract selection. The legislation also provides more funds than requested for continued development of an upgraded SLS rocket and mobile launch tower.

    The Senate has yet to release its appropriations legislation. However, in June, the Senate passed a separate bill which authorizes a second HLS contract award and $2 billion per year over 5 years to support the increase in scope.

      2021 Enacted 2022 PBR House CJS
    NASA $23,271 $24,802 $25,040
    Science $7,301 $7,931 $7,970
    Planetary Science $2,700 $3,200 $3,235
    Earth Science $2,000 $2,250 $2,250
    Astrophysics $1,356 $1,400 $1,446
    Roman Space Telescope $505 $501.6 $501.6
    James Webb Space Telescope $414.7 $175.4 $175.4
    Heliophysics $751 $796.7 $773
    Biological & Physical Science $79.1 $109.1 $90
    Exploration $6,555 $6,880 $7,279
    Orion Crew Vehicle $1,407 $1,407 $1,407
    SLS $2,586 $2,487 $2,636
    Lunar Gateway $698 $785 not specified
    Human Landing System $850 $1,195 $1,345
    Space Technology $1,100 $1,425 $1,280
    Space Operations $3,988 $4,017 $3,961
    Aeronautics $829 $915 $935
    STEM Engagement $127 $147 $147
    Safety, Security, & Mission Services $2,937 $3,049 $3,030
    Construction and Environmental Compliance $390 $390 $390
    NASA Inspector General $44.2 $46 $46

    All values are in millions of dollars. Directorate/top-level line-items are in boldface, divisions and major projects are in standard formatting; sub-programs are in italics. All major directorates are listed but not all sub-divisions or projects are included here.

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